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Pantonic Steel Orchestra
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The Next Generation
A New York Original




 Date: 03.27.06


The Next Level for Steelpan In The Caribbean

Caribbean Regional Negotiating  Machinery (CRNM)
Takes a hard look at the Caribbean Steelband Music Industry
and other cultural sectors

An Exclusive with Dr. Keith Nurse

New YorkWhen Steel Talks conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. Keith Nurse of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating  Machinery (CRNM).   The CRNM is an on-going project whose objective is to make recommendations for addressing regional and external trade and development challenges to creative industries, in order to improve their positioning in the global market.  Steelbands in the region came under the umbrella of cultural industries in this study. 

Dr. Keith Nurse of the CRNM

Dr. Nurse believes that the future of the cultural industries has arrived because the digital world has impacted on the cultural industries more than any other industry on the planet.  New opportunities are being facilitated in many ways by the E-Commerce platform.  Nurse further believes the new digital platform allows steelband music and other forms of Caribbean music new ways to move product and find new customers in a way that wasn't possible before.  However, Dr. Nurse states that the region has not been quick to take full advantage of these new and emerging technologies and "consequently, embracing new technologies and creating the infrastructure for them to operate is something that needs to be further enhanced in the Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora."

Dr. Nurse further elaborates that a number of studies have been done on various aspects of the cultural industry over the last decade, mostly focusing on music and on specific regions such as Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados etc.  What is not in place, is an agency that has the ability to champion the required strategies helping to develop new business models that are responsive to new artistic creations, and new ways of getting it to the market.

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The real challenge is to convince governments and intergovernmental agencies throughout the region to invest in taking advantage in a sector that has already shown itself to be a lucrative and profitable market.  This requires people within the cultural sector like steelbands to get their act together and develop industry associations at both the national and regional levels whether they be issue specific or sector specific.  Nurse points out that there are less than three banks in the region with E-Commerce capabilities, therefore they are not in position to participate seriously in any industry, culturally or otherwise.  "This problem pervades any equal participation in the digital economy."

The owners of, or all those responsible for rights to film, music and other cultural media and everything else with digital rights management all sorted out, must come together "under one large entity on the web or super web site" for things to get to the next level according to Dr. Nurse.  He goes further to warn that the digital age is speeding along and can survive without the involvement of the Caribbean.  Moreover none of these technological advances will be of any use to the people without education.  "Technology begins in the mind."

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